I just got back from the first and only event I'll be attending as part of Toronto Beer Week which was "A Night With Black Oak Brewery" at Bar Volo. It was a great event with nine Black Oak brews on tap and the Brew Master and Owner of Black Oak present. My favourite beer of the night was by far the Double IPA (!!!), "Ten Bitter Years." I don't even know how to describe it, it was just so good! Also fun was that the Brew Master came and chatted with us for ten minutes or so about his beers and about beers from around the world. I love living in a city that lets me enjoy events like this.
For anyone who missed my Facebook update, we bought a house! It's just off St. Clair West between Lansdowne and Keele and it's a little semi-detached, 3 bedroom place with a nicely finished basement and a big deck. We're quite excited/happy and can't wait to move in (which will happen on December 18).
Not sure how long this link will work, but for now check out the virtual tour for pictures.
I enjoy beer quite a bit and for the last couple years I've made an effort to try lots of new and interesting styles and brands. In particular I've developed a great fondness for local craft brewed beer; a scene which is exploding all across North America. Ontario has a number of truly amazing small breweries and the LCBO has become more flexible lately and has taken to featuring those breweries on a regular basis. Unfortunately, due to the strange rules of liquor distribution in this country, the LCBO rarely gets anything from outside of Ontario. So it is quite difficult to access craft beers from the US or even from other provinces in Canada.
Sometimes though, the LCBO works something out with a particular brewery from out of province and we get a chance to buy wonderful beers from other regions. This fall, the LCBO is featuring the Quebec-based brewery Dieu du Ciel. I've tried four different beers from them and my favourite by far is their American IPA "Corne du Diable."
IPAs (India Pale Ales) seem to be extremely popular among people who, like me, seek out new and interesting beers (many would call such people beer snobs and personally I'm OK with that...I'd rather drink fewer delicious beers than many average beers). I've never been able to really get into IPAs though, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is because the style has such a large amount of variation and I've just never had one I liked. Just a quick aside, the definition of what makes an IPA is a hotly debated topic among beer aficionados. I won't step into that argument here except to say that if all you've had is Alexander Kieth's then you've never had an IPA.
Now that I've tried Corne du Diable, I am reevaluating my attitudes towards IPAs because it is just so good. It's flavourful with a good amount of bitterness and it's also super dry in a way that reminds me of dry white wine. I have three more bottles in my fridge and I'm thinking I'll have to pick up some more before it's all gone. Either that or start making regular trips to Montreal!
Toronto is electing a new mayor soon and it's causing me stress. Something that has been bothering me about politics lately is the apparent desire of many people to have candidates that are "down-to-earth" and "just like me." For example, Sarah Palin in the US and Rob Ford in the current Toronto mayoral race. For a converse example, see criticism of Stephan Dion or Michael Ignatieff for being too smart/educated. Also noteworthy is Stephen Harper's aversion to listening to advisors who are experts in their fields as well as his push to make the long form census non-mandatory.
Seriously, on what planet does any of this make sense? I want the smartest, most educated and most experienced person possible to win elections. It shouldn't be about who is nicest or most approachable or about religion. It should be about who is actually best for the job. I want someone who is better than me. Running countries or provinces or cities is hard. An average person isn't going to cut it. Why would you vote for someone average? So that the country can be average? We should all aspire to greatness.
The only explanation I can think of is that perhaps people don't like to vote for someone who is smarter/better than themselves because it makes them feel bad about their own lack of accomplishment. To those people I say, if you can't stomach voting for a person who is better than you, do everyone else a favour and refrain from voting at all.
For a more amusing take on this same topic, check out this blog post from the Real Johnson.
Late last night the downtown Toronto location of Canada Computers burned down! Well, burned out I guess. The building is still there but will need to be totally gutted. The apartments above were destroyed too, which is pretty sad. No one was seriously hurt though and apparently it could have been a lot worse. They were able to contain the fire to just the Canada Computers building and prevent it from spreading to all the adjacent buildings (which are equally old and flammable). We walked by this evening and it was sad to see all the bits of computer stuff blackened inside the store (see my slightly blurry photo below, be sure to click for the full resolution version).
Tonight I updated my main RSS feed to include both my blog posts as well as photos I post to my Photos page instead of having a separate RSS feed for each. So if you read my blog from an RSS reader you'll have noticed five new photos pop up in your feed in addition to this post. Please let me know if you see any problems.
Finally, although I am normally pretty good about backing up my data, I have always been reckless with my lists of recipes to cook and restaurants to visit. Both are kept as drafts in my Gmail account. The other day, after adding a recipe to my recipe list, I pressed the discard draft button instead of the save draft button. Gmail is pretty good and will let you undo stupid stuff like that, but I didn't notice I had done it until three days later when I went looking for a recipe. By then it was too late and I was sad. So I'm going to push ahead a little on some plans I once thought up to add a recipe section to my blog so that I can store the data more permanently. I should do something similar with restaurants, but I think it's best to focus on one thing at a time.